News: Meet Dean Barrett NERAK Engineer, Secret Boxing Legend, Ex-Serviceman and shark catcher extraordinaire

News

If you’re lucky enough to know Dean Barrett you’ll know this. He’s true to his Welsh roots, sound as a pound and always there to help when you need it, normally with a cheeky smile and a joke in tow.

Dean is a NERAK Engineer, I talk to him about what he values in his life and how he came to NERAK.

“After leaving the armed forces I wanted to work as a fitter which is where my heart lies. The job opportunity came along at the right time and ticked all the boxes of the kind of company I wanted to work for.

“The site in Brecon was super clean, everyone was laid back, chilled and clearly a happy team. I couldn’t get over the atmosphere and I was surprised that all the management seemed approachable, I felt I would be happy there.

“It’s been a whirlwind, I’ve been here 8 months now. I’m home every weekend, have regular day shifts and have been away on site a lot of that time. I’ve really enjoyed it.

“I was in the Royal Navy so travelling has always been in the blood. I like the fact there are lots of new challenges and experiences on every job I go on. Each jobs differs in what’s required of us. You have to think on your feet a lot and I enjoy that.

“When you see our machines at customer’s sites, it really hits home how crucial the reliability of our machines are for their production.

“I thrive on that pressure to make sure we do a great job for them.”

Dean at 16 during basic training
Dean and the lads after an 8 month tour of the Far East
The mighty HMS Fearless

 

I ask Dean, with all the things he has done, what’s been the highlight of his life so far?

“I’ve been lucky, I have done a lot in my life but my proudest moment has been becoming a father. I’ve got four children and now I’m a granddad which is great because you can hand them back!”

Dean and grandaughter Daisy, 6 months old

 

What about inspiration? “I just enjoying living life in general, having a good time and trying to bring the kids up to be tidy, responsible people.”

Outside of work, what do you enjoy? “Lot’s of things. I’ve caught a shark, I wouldn’t mind doing that again and I love motorbikes. I’m doing mine up which is taking me a couple of years. I’ve had a Suzuki GSXR 750 and a Kawaskai ZZR600.

Project Suzuki – Work in progress
The famous reef shark off the coast of Brunei

“If I could do one thing and money wasn’t an issue I would travel more. I would love to go to Australia and Hawaii. This year we have a Caribbean cruise planned as well as a trip to Memphis and New Orleans.”

I ask Dean, if on one of his trips he became stranded on a desert island, what would his luxury item be that he would keep with him?

“It would be my darts. It’s been a family passion, my dad loves them as well. My brother in law has a darts club and I play for them on a Friday. For anyone who knows the game; I hit a 180 regular/ I missed a double 16 as I was at a 109 finish.  I actually used to play super league and played against John Lowe when I was 13.

“I would say I have a competitive nature, I’m determined and sport has always been part of my life.

Playing for a tournament for “RNAS Coldrose” in Cornwall age 19

 

“When I was in the navy I boxed for the fleet air arm, naval air command as a middleweight champion 91-92. I still do fights for charity, I had two last year for Help for Heroes which was a white collar boxing event. I really enjoyed it, the crowd were behind me , I’ve got to say that the guy was massive compared to me.”

I look at the photos Dean is showing me and think, yes, that’s a fair comment!

Starting the ring walk in 2017
Second bout in 2017 after the match
Dean’s son Brandon starting young!

 

“The most random fact about me is that I donated my blood plasma.

“In my younger days I used to work in a can factory in Merthyr.  Every so often this donation van would come round to the car park and we could get an hour off work if we gave blood.  Pretty much all the lads did it. They gave you coffee and biscuits, we saw it as a perk of the job!

“I was very young then but I kept on with it after I left the company.

“Then one day I was giving blood and saw a leaflet about donating bone marrow. I decided to do that as well and I wasn’t chasing a free biscuit!

Some time later I got a call to say I was a match for a lady who needed it so I went into hospital and was wired up to something that sounded like a washing machine for several hours. The machine made my teeth chatter but I have to say. it was fascinating watching my blood go in at one end and the clear liquid come out at the other. The hospital was a private one, it was worth going in just for the breakfast!!”

Dean jokes but adds on a serious note that the lady in question survived a further four years because of this. Amazing.

If you were to recommend NERAK to other engineers what would you say?

“It’s a brilliant company to work for and its on a journey to grow and grow. It’ll keep its core values as it does though, looking after its people comes before everything else and I really enjoying coming to work, I’d like to see the end of my career out here, after all I’m still waiting for my colleague Ed to get a round in.”

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